The three-day Scottish Rural Parliament will take place in Stranraer in Dumfries and Galloway on November 14-16, it has been announced.
The biennial event aims to bring together 400 rural community participants to discuss their priorities and this year will focus on two key issues – rural policy post-Brexit and taking action.
Announcing the event, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “It is important people have a say in decisions affecting them, and the Rural Parliament is an important part of that process, allowing rural communities from across Scotland to discuss and agree priority areas for development and local democracy.
“The Rural Parliament coming to Stranraer is a fantastic opportunity for the area to showcase its strengths and share ideas and good practice across Scotland’s communities.”
Welcoming the announcement, Amanda Burgauer, Scottish Rural Action chairwoman, said that the area already has an active rural community.
She said: “The Rural Parliament will help bring attention to this effort and will leave a strong legacy in the area.
“The dual themes of action and influencing around Brexit will foster a dynamic event that will help define the future of rural Scotland as the UK approaches Brexit and in the years that follow. The event will offer an opportunity for 400 people from across rural Scotland to influence high level decision makers and ensure their community’s voice is heard.
“At previous Scottish Rural Parliaments, we have shaped much of our work on areas such as connectivity, transport and banking. Being the voice for rural communities is a role that Scottish Rural Action takes seriously, and I am very pleased to have seen significant progress driven by our work in these areas over the years.”
Peter Ross, Stranraer Liaison Group chairman, added: “We are delighted to be welcoming the Scottish Rural Parliament to Stranraer. The event has great cultural and political significance, and allows us to showcase our dynamic and thriving rural communities.
“We look forward to learning from other communities and working together in the future to share experiences and shape rural policy at both local and national level.
“We have seen the impact on previous hosts local economy and expertise, and we look forward to bringing the spotlight to Stranraer, which has lots to offer.
Participants can look forward to a warm welcome from friendly people in a town with excellent facilities, set in lovely countryside. Stranraer has, in common with the rest of Dumfries and Galloway, a large vibrant community who gladly undertake lots of volunteering roles. There are lots of clubs, organisations and caring people who look out for each other.”
Bookings are now open for people from rural Scotland - visit www.scottishruralparliament.org.uk to reserve your place or find out more.